Dr. Keiichi Ogawa, 43, a minister belonging to Namai Branch Church in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan, and a professor at the Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies at Kobe University, has received the Early Career Award from the Teachers College of Columbia University, the oldest graduate school of education in the U.S. Established 11 years ago, this award is annually given to a small number of alumni of the school who have made great accomplishments within 10 years after obtaining a master’s or doctoral degree. The first recipient of the award from Asia, Dr. Ogawa received recognition for his seven years of work as an “education economist” at the headquarters of the World Bank, a specialized agency of the U.N.
An education economist is a specialist who determines appropriate ways of funding educational support for developing countries. Specifically, education economists analyze problems related to the systems and quality of education of the countries concerned and seek solutions. They launch support projects and seek to implement their ideas in partnership with governments and international support organizations.
At the World Bank, Dr. Ogawa was mainly in charge of Africa and the Middle East, leading numerous major projects to success. Currently, while engaging in teaching and research at Kobe University, he is also working as an advisor for international support organizations, taking advantage of his experiences at the World Bank.
“I always make sure that I am in good health,” says Dr. Ogawa, who spends about 100 days a year in overseas countries. “Because I often go overseas for a long period of time to do research, I feel really grateful for being kept healthy. Also, I have not been involved in any serious troubles. I am convinced that Oyasama is always leading me by going ahead of me.”
Dr. Ogawa’s long overseas experience has strengthened his ties with governments and the U.N. Very active internationally, he recently participated in the Meeting of the Education Ministers of the Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) and of the Group of Eight (G8), held last fall in Oman. He attended the meeting at the request of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan.
Dr. Ogawa worked at the Precincts Section of Church Headquarters for one year after graduating from Tenri High School. “It was the year of the Centennial Anniversary of Oyasama. Through interactions with followers from overseas countries, I came to dream of going overseas.” These experiences, says Dr. Ogawa, led him to set his mind to study abroad.
Dr. Ogawa studied English at the Tenri University Special Department of Languages in 1988 and then went to study in Hawaii with the money he had earned by working part-time. Later he moved onto a master’s program in the graduate school of the University of San Francisco, and then obtained a doctorate degree in the areas of Comparative International Education and Education Economy in the graduate program of Columbia University. While he was at the university, he got a job position at the World Bank, which at that time only accepted about one in a thousand applicants.
It was five years ago that Dr. Ogawa started to work at Kobe University. Although he hesitated to quit the World Bank, he decided to work on educating the younger generation when he was offered teaching positions from several renowned universities in Japan. Students wishing to study under Dr. Ogawa have been increasing by the year as he strives to offer practical education through overseas training and internship. Five of his “advisees” have managed to get job positions at the headquarters of the World Bank.